Mary Murphy, who has died in New York at 98, was a native of Newton, Tulrahan, Claremorris. She was the oldest of eight children and was born on December 4, 1908 to Nora and Thomas Murphy. She was a sister to Mike, Margaret, Celia, John and Bill, all deceased; also to Jim who resides in New York and Elizabeth Waldron, Lissaniskea, Bekan.
She emigrated to New York at the age of 16 and became a US citizen in 1929. Her first presidential vote was for Herbert Hoover, the 31st US President, and lived through 13 presidencies during her life span in New York.
She was a dedicated Republican and kept up with political, local and international news. Mary had a TV interview on C-W 11 news at the age of 96 when her niece, Mary Murphy, who is an anchor correspondent did a story on her
Mary sailed to New York on a five-week voyage from Cobh, and made one trip home to visit her parents in the 1930s. Her only communication to her homeland was by air letter. Phone service to rural Ireland came years later. She never experienced airline travel or the new Ireland.
She remained single all her life and enjoyed the fruits of her career as a “domestic” in fine wealthy homes for rich New Yorkers. She became surrogate mother to some of their children.
Mary had a lovely family of nieces and nephews. She filled her role as aunt, godmother and surrogate grandmother since their actual grandmothers lived in Ireland.
Her niece, Mary Murphy, gave a tearful eulogy of the happy childhood they spent with Aunt Mary, who guided them through many obstacles in their growing years.
Mary’s Memorial Mass in Good Shepherd Church was attended by three generations of her family. Every detail of the service was in order as Mary was a very organised person
At her graveside in “Gate of Heaven” cemetery the priest remarked he regretted not having met Mary Murphy to find out her secret to longevity to the age of 98.
As a Pioneer she did not waver in her Confirmation pledge, never tasted alcohol, but she liked a good Camel (cigarette) which she discontinued years ago.
She had a pleasant personality, a quick sense of humour and enjoyed the wit of an Irish joke
When Mary started having health problems she coped with her advancing years with good grace. Even after losing one leg because of circulation problems she retained her independence.
When her nieces blessed her with flowers on different occasions she would place them on Our Lady’s altar in Kateri Chapel where she attended daily Mass and Communion up to the last weeks of her life.
Her family of nieces and nephews in Ireland and England are also grieving a faithful aunt who was devoted to all of them.
She will be missed by her brother Jim, who is grateful to his wife Chris and daughter Celia for their devotion and nurturing care to Mary in her failing years.
Mary is now at peace, with her parents and siblings. May peace abide with her survivors in the loss of a great lady and a special aunt who will never be forgotten